“There’s no such thing as Santa Claus!”
my older cousin shouted, his fists clenched, face red
but I didn’t believe him until I asked my mother and father.
They said he was telling the truth, but I knew in my heart
it might be true now, but there was a time he did exist.
Like all living things, he probably died, couldn’t keep going forever.
I felt sad my younger brothers and sisters never know him like I did.
My parents said, “Keep his spirit alive, you become the ‘Claus’
for the younger ones, creating the magic and Christmas surprise.”
At some point I realized he never existed, a tale told by parents
to fool kids every season, for hundreds of years and when it was my turn
I did the same thing, participating in the big hoax, without regret,
and now my children fulfill the role, will this insanity every end?
Like any infection that festers, it grows too big, it gets out of hand.
Costs for the holiday differ from house to house,
poor children must wonder why Santa doesn’t love them
as much as their rich neighbors and how it becomes a relief
to learn it is a lie, perpetuated on consumers to force them to buy
beyond their means because they have become the Santa
who grants kids their heart's desire.
I can imagine a child from a different country
laughing at the silliness of our cultural traditions,
ridiculing our gullibility, and the extremes we will use
to control our children’s behavior,
for them coal could keep them warm
for the winter, while plastic toys give off
toxic fumes when thrown into the fire.